The Annual Policy Report on Migration and Asylum 2015 provides an overview of trends, policy developments and significant debates in the area of asylum and migration during 2015 in Ireland.
Some important developments in 2015 included:-
- The Report of the Working Group on Improvements to the Protection Process, including direct provision and supports to asylum seekers (McMahon Report) was published.
- The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP), in response to the migration crisis was approved by Government Decision. Ireland agreed to take up to 4,000 persons in respect of relocation and resettlement under this programme by the end of 2017.
- The Government opted into two EU decisions on relocation; Council Decision (EU) 2015/1523 and Council Decision (EU) 2015/1601.
- The International Protection Act 2015 was signed into law in December 2015 and provides for a single application procedure for international protection and related provisions.
- An online appointments booking system for the re-entry visa service was introduced.
- The British-Irish Visa Scheme was extended to India in February 2015.A Trusted Partner Initiative for employment permit applications was introduced by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
- Reforms restricting the list of eligible educational programmes for immigration purposes were announced and learner protection arrangements were introduced.
- A consultation phase was held for the second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking in Ireland.
Key figures for 2015:
- There were approximately 114,000 non-EEA nationals with permission to remain in Ireland in 2015 compared to 105,000 at the end of 2014.
- Net migration for non-EU nationals is estimated to be 13,300.
- The number of newly arriving immigrants increased year-on-year to 79,300 at April 2016 from 69,300 at end April 2015. Non-EU nationals represented 40.1 per cent of this total at end April 2016.
- A total of 97,193 visas, both long and short stay, were issued in 2015.
- Approximately 3,215 persons were refused entry to Ireland at the external borders with 2,315 persons found to be illegally present.
- 251 persons were returned from Ireland as part of forced return measures with 115 persons availing of voluntary return, of which 93 were assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Assisted Voluntary Return Programme (VARRP).
- There were 1,282 permissions of leave to remain granted under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 during 2015.
- 3,276 applications for refugee status were received
- 1,480 subsidiary protection cases were processed and 297 new applications for subsidiary protection were submitted.
- 272 applications for family reunification in respect of recognised refugees were received.
- A total of 78 alleged trafficking victims were identified, compared with 46 in 2014.